Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rish Performs "The Concrete Mixer" by Ray Freaking Bradbury on Audible

It was exciting to get the contract on this one, to be able to perform a story--any story--by Ray Bradbury during my ill-fated experiment in audiobook narration.  Easily the most recognizable name I've had the pleasure to perform, I'm happy to announce that my reading of "The Concrete Mixer" is now up for sale on Audible.com.

The story was published in 1949, in a pulp magazine, and later republished in Bradbury's collection, "The Illustrated Man."  It tells the story of Ettil, a Martian family man who refuses to participate in his planet's invasion of Earth, as he has read many of our stories about the disastrous attempts to invade us.  Eventually, he is forced to go along, and lands on Earth, only to find it very different than the world depicted in the magazines.
This story, while amusingly dated, was a pretty audacious condemnation on Post-war America, and seemed more overtly comical than any other Bradbury I've read.  Also, it has a very different ending than the version that ended up in the collection, which alone should make you curious.

The recording can be found at this link : http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Concrete-Mixer-Audiobook/B00HETDFHK/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srImg?qid=1388217409&sr=1-1

I did my best on this story, and it was an honor to be able to perform something from the Master of Science Fiction.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Rish Performs "Trick Or Treat" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch on Audible

So, when I first took on the contract to do the first Spade/Paladin Conundrum story (by Kristine Kathryn Rusch) early in the year, I was told that if it worked out, there were other stories in the series I might be asked to record.  That experience was a very lengthy and bad one, and prompted me to scrap the recording equipment I had been using for a couple of years, and go with the setup I now enjoy (which I have practically no complaints about).

Miraculously, I was asked back to perform the other Spade stories, and here we are at the end of the year with this, the final Spade/Paladin Conundrum story . . . at least the most recent to be published.  The stories vary in length and seriousness, and this one tells of poor Spade being cajoled into babysitting on Halloween by Paladin, who seems to have an unspoken ulterior motive for shackling him with a teenager dressed as a ghost.

The story's called Trick Or Treat, and can be found at this link: http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Trick-or-Treat-Audiobook/B00HETDOAI/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1388217388&sr=1-2

These tales are always really geeky and referential to fan culture, and Ms. Rusch is a quality writer of more works than I'll probably manage in my lifetime.  Be nice to be proven wrong there, though.

Rish Outfield, Audiobook Lad

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Annual Love Actually Christmas Post

Because of work, illness, overwork, and apathy, I was unable to watch LOVE ACTUALLY this year for Christmas. That is a bummer, as that movie does wonders for my outlook on life, and helps me cope with the soul-torturing loneliness that's been known to climb in my window at night.

But, as it's a tradition for me to take a line from the movie and put a picture of it up, I thought it was the least I could do.  I went in search of an image from the scene I wanted, and started making the following:

To my surprise, however, someone had already done a screen-grab of that exact line I was going to use.   It may be better than mine, but I wish I'd discovered it two minutes earlier.

Thank you, random stranger.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Podcast That Dares Not Speak Its Name 7: Last Minute Shopper

Well, I've had to skip an episode (or four) to get my Christmas show in under the wire.  This was supposed to be the final episode of my solo podcast before I made the switch to the easier* Rish Outcasts.

This one includes a Christmas story (or anti-Christmas story, if you prefer) I wrote called "Last Minute Shopper."  It's fairly short and tells the tale of a reluctant venture into a mall right before the holiday.  Afterward, Sir Fake Sean and I do our worst duet ever, and there's a bit of monologuing by me. 

Hopefully, you'll miss these when they're gone.

Right click HERE to download the episode, select Save Link As, and save the file to your hard drive.

Rish Outfield, Podcaster

*Or perhaps I should say "easier," since it's a difference of maybe ten minutes' work either way.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sleepytime Narrator

I have another post forthcoming, wherein I detail the quandary I had about the ending of "Kalin," but it's pretty extensive, so I think I'll bump it to next week, when I'm less busy (after Christmas, I mean).

In the meantime, here is a bit about a struggle of a different sort . . . staying awake while narrating audiobooks.  Nothing puts me to sleep faster than having to edit my readings, but occasionally, even the reading of them is a challenge.  As you can hear in the clip, I am aware, most of the time, of my condition, but the worst is when I'm not aware of it, and mumble through lines of the reading, never doing them over, only to be discovered in the editing process.

Yawn with me.

Rish Outfield

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rish Performs "Snipe Hunt" on Audible.com

Carol Hightshoe seems to be a writer I can get behind.  All at once (I got the impression), she put a bunch of her stories for sale on Amazon.com, and then made a bunch of them available for narrators to audition for.  On my brightest, most energetic day, I'd be doing the same damn thing.

During that period when I was looking for small projects, I saw one of them, "Snipe Hunt," and thought it would be up my alley.  I sent an audition, and here I am to plug it in my blog.
It's a very short story, set in the bayou (which I can't do the accent of, but hopefully the dialect police have the day off), and I found it amusing.  A couple of hillbilly-types discover a passel of invading aliens in their neck of the woods.  They've come across the galaxy in search of running targets, but are they wily enough to hunt down the most elusive prey of all . . . the snipe?

I thought it would be fun to give the aliens low-pitched British accents.  I don't know if it worked or not, but for a couple of bucks, you can decide for yourself.  Here's the link: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Snipe-Hunt-Audiobook/B00H2NMVYQ/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1386723976&sr=1-1

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Audiobook Adventures: Part 30

I have finished my recording of "Kalin," the fourth Dumarest of Terra book.  Once again, I was unable or unwilling to sit down and record the whole darn thing in a couple of sittings.  Doing these readings takes a lot of out of me, which makes me wonder what it would be like to be a professional narrator, having to get through a Stephen King or John Grisham book in a studio environment, with tons of technicians standing by, doing it as a full-time job.  I imagine I'd long for these ACX days, when I have a month or so to get even short novels done.

I've done three short stories in the past month or so, and been offered another.  I declined it, struggling as I was with my "Kalin" deadline.  But the author of that story seemed to want me to do it, and sent me another offer, with the deadline extended a couple of weeks.  I accepted that one, and in absolute honesty, I completely forgot about it until I started typing this right now.  Sadly, I've now got two days before the first chapter deadline, and I haven't even downloaded the story yet.  Or finished "Kalin," which needs to be my priority.

I mentioned before the accent I chose for a major character, and how I struggled with it.  As I've been editing, I've either gotten better with the voice, or I've gotten used to it, for it doesn't grate on me like it did.

I have found that nothing is quite so sleep-inducing as editing my audiobook recordings.  Sometimes I can be sitting for five to ten minutes and find myself drowsing off.  If I get paid for each of these gigs, it's for the editing, not for the readings, which are usually a joy to do.

That's difficult, but worse is when I start to fall asleep while RECORDING the book.  That happened to me once in May or so, when I was narrating . . . wow, I cannot remember that name of that book.  Already, either my mind is going or I'm doing too darn many of these.  I was downstairs, recording on the couch (I mistakenly thought the sound would be better in the little room I use as a workshop, and I could plug a microphone directly into my brother's laptop), when my head started to sag.  I'd awaken, continue, doze, then try to rouse myself and keep reading to the end of the chapter at least.

This was repeated in similar fashion on one chapter of "Kalin," and it's not until the editing process that I realize just how asleep I had fallen.  Looooong spaces appear between sentences, and then between words, and then the words themselves become mumbles. 

Luckily, I caught myself on this one and said, "Man, I'm too tired to keep going.  I'm gonna stop."  On the other book, whatever it was, I had no choice but to edit around the sleepy bits, since . . . either it was too difficult to match my voice in recordings made days apart, or I was too lazy to go downstairs and record those lines again.  Maybe I'm not the world's best audiobook narrator after all.

So, what else?

In "Kalin," there were, after all was said and done, many named characters that didn't show up again.  I had a scene where there were three men on a hunting trip, and I gave them all different voices to differentiate them, including giving one a Hispanic accent.  A couple of chapters later, I discovered that all three men were brothers, and that the odd man with the accent shouldn't have one.  But I had already edited that chapter, and had absolutely no desire to do the thing over again.

So, I just decided that it was possible for one brother to be adopted, or a half-brother, or, hell, I don't know, have been brought up somewhere else, and have a different accent from his other two brothers.  As the character reappeared, again and again, I kept thinking, "Dammit, this character with this accent again.  What should I do?"  But I had made my choice, and I stuck with it.  I do worry, though, that someone listening will be bothered by that.  I hope not, but as long as it's not the publisher, I will continue to live with my mistake.

But that brings us to the weirdest part of the book, the part that I still don't know what to do about, even though the deadline is looming, and at the time of this writing (which I'm doing instead of editing, of course), is minutes away.  It's all about accents again.

The main female character has an accent, from the very first chapter.  I had read an overview of the book, trying to avoid the kinds of mistakes I made with the Hispanic accent mentioned above.  In it, it was explained that Kalin is not who she claims to be, exactly, but is actually someone else, sort of body-switched.  The girl Kalin used to be is on her world, very ill, and--

Oh man.  This is way too convoluted to write about here.  I'm gonna have to do an entire blog post to do it justice.  Sigh.

Rish Outfield, Audiobeast

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Paul Walker R.I.P.

So, actor Paul Walker died in a car accident yesterday.  He was one of the stars of one of my least-favorite film franchises.  My sister despised him with a fury beyond how I feel toward Dane Cook.

But I quite liked Paul Walker myself.  My best experience being an extra was working on Clint Eastwood's FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, in which I got to play a U.S. soldier on a Liberty ship.  We'd arrive at the docks pre-dawn, get our hair cut, get in our uniforms, take our belts and firearms, and load about the vessel, shooting out in the ocean until the sun went down.  One of the days of the shoot, while Ryan Phillipe hung out with women who were not Reese Witherspoon, I ended up talking to Paul Walker and Adam Beach, who were other actors in the picture.

I asked Walker about INTO THE BLUE and making out with Jessica Alba, and he was surprisingly cool and forthcoming, reminding me of the coolest guy in my hometown, who was always friendly and accessible, even to social gimps like me.  Tall, handsome, blond and blue-eyed, Walker basically looked like a Ken doll, and yet he was down-to-earth and not above chatting with extras.  It made me a fan of Paul Walker.

There are a lot of d'bags in the world, and even more in Hollywood.  It was nice to be able to say that he was not one of them. 

I'd have cast him as Captain America, had the brother-in-law on "Chuck" not been available.

He died at age forty, and I don't really know if his star was setting or on the rise.  We won't know now.  As it stands, I guess he'll be remembered for the damned FAST & FURIOUS movies, but it's a shame DC or Marvel couldn't have made a superhero out of him before the end.

Rish Outfield